Let me preface this to say that some of this makes us uncomfortable to share. Not the journey part- the money part. We’ve always been private about our income (as most people are) but we really do feel like sharing it here can be motivating for you. Please realize that we are in no way intending to gloat or brag about the money we are making. There are enough bloggers making ten-times what we make that would keep our egos in check if need be. 😉
Anyway, on with the story!
KatieDidWhat.com started way back in January of 2010. Around that same time, Zack started a deal blog (LookBeforeSpending.com) which no longer produces new content. We were both working at a restaurant and kid-free. I started because I loved writing, creating and sharing. Zack started because he loved finding deals and sharing them.
Within a few months, Zack realized that there were people making money doing what he was doing. That was the moment when he started looking at our blogs and the internet very differently. All he saw was opportunity. Opportunity to make money doing what we love.
We continued doing our blogging thing while trying a few different money-making ideas (affiliate links, sponsorships, ads) without a lot of success. Basically the only way I monetized katiedidwhat.com for two years was through Amazon affiliate links and AdSense ads.
It’s definitely a good thing to approach monetization slowly and in a calculated manner, but if we knew what we know now (and what we share all over this site), I can’t imagine how much faster things would have started coming together for us.
The Big Move
Slowly but surely, we began to make more and more money on both blogs and by the end of 2012, we quit our jobs. We were each helping out on both blogs- sometimes working 80-100 hours a week between the two of us. Shortly after we left our jobs, it became apparent that katiedidwhat.com had much more opportunity than our deal blog.
At that time, we set up the deal blog to be a source of passive income and left it alone. Today, we spend about 15 minutes a year to update and check on it.
Getting Serious & a New Source of Motivation
Once we made that move- we were all in on katiedidwhat.com. It was time to get serious. We put the idea of making money on the backburner and focused on creating high-quality content, beautiful photos and graphics and generally building our audience.
And then this happened:
Talk about some serious motivation to be successful at what we were doing. The idea of having a child to support really kicks you into gear. We started investing into our blog (blogging tools we use) and being more calculated in what we were doing.
Focusing on Our Audience
We really started paying attention to where our potential audience was hanging out. What kind of content did they like? When were they most likely to be online? Who else do they follow?
Around this time, a major player in the lifestyle blogging game came into the picture – Instagram. I’m not going to say Instagram launched our blog, because we were making decent money before the gram came around, but it definitely has taken things to the next level.
Instagram was (and still is) great for building personal relationships. I love interacting with my followers there and am so happy to hear when they head to my blog or Facebook page for more of my content! I am able to share more personal pictures and stories about my life there and it’s been really good for my blog and audience in general.
Things Really Start Clicking
So, we’re sometime in 2015 in our story now and we’ve got a little one running around at home. Affiliate sales are really picking up as I continue to share my favorite baby products and fashion pieces in authentic ways on the blog and social accounts. We were getting a lot of sponsored opportunities as well for both the blog and Instagram.
The 2015 holiday season was incredible for us. The money was decent, but much more importantly- we learned so much about our audience, what they like and how to reach them.
We finished 2015 extremely encouraged about the year to come. We felt like we had gained great knowledge of the different ways that we could make money and had big plans to apply that to our business in 2016.
Then 2016 started and this happened:
Prioritizing Our Time
Having another baby made work much more difficult. It was especially difficult to fit in work time during the first couple of months. We felt it- as our business (traffic and income) suffered a bit. Once we got somewhat of a decent nap/sleep schedule- we were able to recover and put in more regular hours. Beginning in 2016 and to this day, we each probably work no more than 25 hours/week on the business.
We had to prioritize our time and make every free second count. No more getting “lost on the internet” and things like that. We had to make the tough decision to stop replying to every email we receive. We still reply to all of yours, but we leave a lot of our pitches (sometimes really sweet ones) that don’t interest us unreplied as we just don’t have time to reply.
So, we had to make the most of our time in 2016 more than ever before. And that’s exactly what we did. We wrapped up 2016 just shy of $100,000 in income. After expenses. We’ve been dabbling into advertising on Facebook and Instagram, which has produced great results.
Our Success Comes Strictly from the Blog & Attached Social Accounts
I really think the credit to all of this goes to (besides God!) our hard work and dedication to the process. We never strayed from our plan to make a living from our lifestyle blog. No clothing shop, no essential oils, no paid courses. There is NOTHING wrong with any of those things- it’s just not the direction we took our business. We’re always running ideas by each other about where to take the next step.
I also have to give you a word of caution when taking advice on blogging. Make sure the blogger actually has a successful blog. Someone who makes 95% of their money from a course, coaching or mlm sales is probably not the best person to learn about blogging from. Sales? Yes. Blogging? Maybe not. Ok, off my soapbox.
Exceeded Expectations, Ideas and the Future
So, we’re working through 2017 now. We surpassed our 2016 income by July! We actually surpassed our 2016 income IN July when we had our first $100,000 month! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Prime Day and our success in promoting other retail deals really had a big impact on our year.
Our plan for the future is to continue to build the Katie Did What audience, continue providing great content for them and building this site. We make money each time someone starts a blog here, and we’re hoping that this becomes a nice portion of our income in the not so distant future.
We also have not ruled out the idea of creating a product to sell- but it’s nothing more than a thought right now. Our strategy at this point is to try and create a branch of our business that isn’t so personalized to me. A product would do that. This site succeeding would do that in a way.
It Takes Hard Work
We’ve never been shy about telling people that it takes a LOT of hard work and patience, but we’re living examples that it can work. You can create an income-generating opportunity in the comfort of your own home. You can quit your job to blog. You can even make enough to have your husband quit too! This is real. It’s happening to us and hundreds of other bloggers and it can happen to you!
I truly believe that armed with the knowledge we share on this site and the right work ethic, you can start a blog today and begin making $1,000/month or more within 6 months. No doubt about it.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start your own blog, go here and start the process!